LAS VEGAS – Every few years, Bob Chamberlain Sr. of The Villages, Florida, finds a way back into the spotlight at the United States Bowling Congress Open Championships, and he accomplished that again Thursday at the South Point Bowling Plaza, becoming the latest member of the event’s 50-Year Club.
While he has marched to the tournament lanes 49 times before, starting at the 1968 event in Cincinnati, there were some unexpected emotions this time as he was escorted out by his good friend and standout senior bowler, Dave Bernhardt Sr. of Romeo, Michigan.
“There was nothing that distracted my thinking or thoughts until I started to walk out, and I started to get a little misty-eyed,” said Chamberlain, a 68-year-old right-hander who received a plaque, chevron and diamond lapel pin to commemorate his 50th consecutive tournament appearance. “Dave and I have been great friends for over 40 years. He’s a very special person and helped my dream come true when I went out on the PBA Tour. I could not believe this was happening. This is a pretty big deal.”
Chamberlain last reminded the bowling world he still had some magic left when he rolled a perfect game during singles at the 2011 USBC Open Championships in Reno, Nevada.
Before that, he made a memorable march down Center Aisle at the 2005 Open Championships, where he was part of the last USBC Hall of Fame class to have its induction ceremony inside the tournament venue.
His hall-of-fame resume includes a Regular Team title with Stroh’s Beer of Detroit at the 1980 Open Championships, followed by a third-place finish in 1981. Professionally, he has captured two titles on the Professional Bowling Association Tour and four wins on the PBA50 Tour, the last of which came in 2003 on the way to PBA50 Player of the Year honors.
This year at the South Point Bowling Plaza, Chamberlain rolled sets of 591 in doubles and 587 in singles and 562 in team for a 1,740 all-events total. In 50 years on the tournament lanes, he has knocked down 92,396 pins for a career average of 203.
With his 2017 Open Championships campaign now complete, Chamberlain and his wife, Mary, will enjoy some vacation time together.
“My wife and I are going on a 10-day vacation,” Chamberlain said. “We’re just going to drive around the country revisiting some of the things and places we enjoyed seeing in the past.”
When he’s not bowling or working part-time at one of Florida’s 3 Amigos Pro Shops, he loves being outside for a round of golf or a ride on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
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